In a world where clean water is becoming increasingly scarce, a new documentary is highlighting the Israeli role in the international effort to counter that trend. “Sustainable Nation,” produced by Imagination Productions, follows the story of three Israelis who are hoping to leverage their personal and national experience to bring sustainable water solutions to an increasingly thirsty planet. The film, scheduled for screening at the Boulder Jewish Film Festival on March 10, is one of a four-film tribute to producer Raphael Shore, founder of Jerusalem U. The other films, “Mekonen: The Journey of an African Jew,” and “When the Smoke Clears: A Story of Brotherhood, Resilience and Hope” will be shown Monday, March 11, with Shore in attendance.
“In the 21st century, we are facing a critical crisis in energy, water and food,” says Dr. Clive Lipchin, an expert in drought and water management in the featured in the film. “Yet in the past two decades, Israel has gone from a country facing draught to a country that has is actually exporting water to its neighbors.”
At present, it is estimated that at least one in every ten people lack basic access to safe water. In some regions, particularly in African villages, the challenge comes from a lack of infrastructure to deliver clean water leaving millions without the ability to provide for their families. In other areas, decades of polluting major waterways has had a devastating impact on the ability to access water resources.
“When we began this project several years ago, we certainly wanted to make a film that spread awareness about the water crisis, but ultimately we wanted to focus on solutions and give audiences hope that we truly can solve this issue. As we began our research, there was one statistic that truly blew me away: Israel leads the world in wastewater recycling, reusing more than 80% of its wastewater, with the next closest country being Spain at 20%.”— Director Micah Smith
“The message that we hope to impart is that the Israeli experience and spirit of innovation can be to the immediate and long-lasting benefit of people all over the world when it comes to conservation and clean water technologies,” says Raphael Shore, executive producer of the film.
Featured in the film is Omer Guy, a third-generation kibbutznik who developed software which uses artificial intelligence to help farmers save water. “On the kibbutz they taught me to take responsibility and not leave things for others to figure out.” His technology is being used by California farmer Brian Palla, also a third-generation farmer. “Water in California is worth more than anything,” said Palla , noting that California produces 30% of agriculture for the United States population. “It’s worth more than oil, worth more than gold. It’s the only thing that keep us us going. I think people take water for granted. They turn on the faucet and it’s there.”
The film also stressed that not all innovations require a super high tech approach. “Billions of dollars are put into projects in India to treat the rivers in different places but they all fail because they choose the wrong methods,” said Eli Cohen, who uses aquatic plants to recycle sewage water without the need for industrial sewage treatment facilities. “They are using too much energy and they are not made to deal with such extreme conditions. We need to think out of the box.”
Working together with the local African villages in some of the poorest areas of the country, Innovation Africa’s Sivan Yaari says what motivates her the most is the simplicity of the solution. “The main challenge in Africa is the lack of energy. Our goal is to bring solar technology to villages to power schools, medical centers, but most importantly to pump water.”
This ninth full length documentary by Imagination Productions was produced over the course of three years, allowing the viewer to understand the development of the problem, the solution and implementation. Weaving in animation, music and on-location filming, the producers tell the story of humankind’s ability to make a significant change through the themes of sustainability and environmental protection.
“This is the story of a people who are simply unwilling to accept the status quo, individuals who grew up surrounded by these issues and care enough to do something about it,” said Lipchin.
For tickets – click here.